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NBA to Stream Live Games in South Korea

After what has been reported as a successful experiment in live Internet video coverage of an NBA game last week, the NBA announced on Monday that it has entered into an agreement with Sportlive, a closed loop broadband content portal in South Korea, to begin streaming NBA games and programming in real-time and on-demand.

Under the agreement, the NBA has licensed live game coverage for the remainder of this season and for the entire 2001-02 season, to Sportlive, which was founded in May 2000. A spokesperson from the NBA indicated that only select games would be streamed, however, the agreement also includes NBA Jam, a lifestyle program for teens, a daily two-minute video of NBA highlights, and NBA Classic games.

"The demand for NBA programming in South Korea continues to grow and this agreement allows us to reach our fans in a completely new environment," said Scott Levy, senior director of International Television for the NBA in a statement.

On Friday, April 13, the NBA offered a live webcast of the Dallas Mavericks and Sacramento Kings game in its entirety. According to Streamcheck, a streaming media monitoring company, the webcast was successful.

"The connection success rates we saw for the NBA game were the best we've seen for a webcast of this size," said Shai Berger, president, Streamcheck, in a statement. "We've been monitoring live events over the course of the last six months and have noticed steady improvements."

According to Streamcheck's quality measurement metrics, the NBA game had a connection success rate of 97.2 percent across the 10 cities that were involved.

The NBA was testing its webcasting skills in the interest of launching a new D league in the fall, which according to the NBA, will be covered a great deal on the Internet.

And with this week's announcement it would seem the NBA is taking advantage of the technology to reach less tapped markets abroad. A spokesperson from the NBA indicated that while it had television coverage in Korea, it was not inclusive of all the games.

According to the NBA, South Korea has more than 1.5 million Internet broadband households and more than 3 million Internet dial-up subscribers making it a market worth penetrating.

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